March 6, 2012 – Today several partners that are part of the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO) have signed and submitted an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, putting forward expectations and recommendations regarding the appointment of the Special Advisor on Youth. You can read the letter here:
To: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
Cc: Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the United Nations General Assembly
Mrs. Nicola Shepherd, UN Focal Point of Youth & Permanent Chair of the IANYD
The UN Interagency Network on Youth Development (IANYD)
Mr. Gianni Rosas, co-chair of the IANYD
March 6, 2012
Honorable UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,
The signing Youth-led Organizations, Regional and National Youth Councils as well as official Youth Delegates to the UN have welcomed your announcement on 25 January to appoint a new Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Youth (SASG). For the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO) and its partners, this promise to young people follows-up your commitment during the UN High-Level Meeting on Youth in July 2011 and the high expectations set at the closing of the International Year of Youth 2010-2011.
We are addressing you in order to express the need to appoint a SASG on Youth with whom young people from all over the world can identify. Moreover, this Special Advisor must empower and truly represent more than 1.8 billion global citizens: us, the youth.
A SASG on Youth will help to give more attention and awareness to the needs of young people and to implement the five-year action plan regarding youth and the announced youth volunteer initiative. It has the potential to create the needed accountability for young people and youth in the UN system. This, however, requires that the position will hold a strong mandate and get the necessary support – both, financially as well as politically.
The signing youth organizations and platforms to this document represent more than 100 million members from all over the world. Together with official UN Youth Delegates, who are members of their national delegations and serve as advisors on youth, it is obvious to us that meaningfully involving young people and youth-led organizations in the appointing process of the SASG is crucial to ensuring its credibility. We therefore request the principles outlined below to be followed in order to ensure the success of a SASG on Youth. Furthermore, choosing to follow these principles as laid out below will prove whether or not the UN is ready for and serious about meaningful youth participation at all levels, as agreed in the World Programme of Action for Youth.
The Special Advisor:
- Should be young, under 35 years of age; in order for the SASG to be welcomed and completely accepted by the global youth the appointee should be able to be related to youth’s as a peer – by the youth; furthermore a young SASG will be a statement of youth participation in and of itself by you Mr. Secretary General, and by the UN and should be seen as an opportunity for the UN to lead by example.
- Has to have a deep understanding of youth policy in the UN context, including the World Programme of Action for Youth; we cannot afford to have a SASG who lacks deep understanding of the most important processes and is weak in terms of the substance of youth work since this would question the sincerity of the appointment; the SASG needs to have a standing and sustainable commitment to youth policy and youth developments; young people do not need a famous person but rather one they can believe in and who has a solid basis of leadership and inspiration.
- Needs to have leadership experience in youth-led organizations at the global level in order to understand youth civil society and to be able to have a continuous dialogue throughout the UN System, Member States, young people and youth-led organizations; youth organizations, as the most inclusive and representative structures for young people, are the tool through which we empower, encourage, involve, represent, reach out and support youth;
- Would highly benefit from having had proven experience in moderation and open dialogue in order to approximate youth and youth organizations to the entire UN System.
By following these principles in the appointment process of the SASG and by selecting a young person, youth and youth organizations from all over the world will be empowered. The appointment of a SASG itself is a necessary step forward in terms of this empowerment; we believe that the seriousness with which the UN takes meaningful youth participation will be displayed by, inter alia, the suitable age of the Special Advisor.
However, if the alternative were the course chosen in the appointment process, i.e. to ignore these principles – by for example appointing a person who is not young anymore – the UN would send a sign of exclusion to all young people and youth organizations. This could not only undermine capabilities of the appointee, but could question the credibility of the institution as a whole. This in turn could possibly lead to increased frustration and distancing of young people and their organizations from the UN system. This is a reality we absolutely have to avoid.
The new and welcomed focus on youth for this actual mandate and the appointment of a SASG have the potential to become an outstanding part of the legacy of your call as UN Secretary General. We believe that this will be achieved if implemented while seriously considering our submissions.
Honorable UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, we are convinced that if the outlined criteria will be the basis for the appointment, the SASG will become a story of success that will empower young people, include them and their organizations in development processes and ensure close links between the UN system and young people from all over the world. The appointment of the SASG on Youth needs to be seen as a step in the right progressive direction to strengthen the youth agenda in the UN. It is up to you to prove that the UN’s commitment to empower young people is what you believe in and what you are striving for!
International Youth Organizations:
- African Youth Initiatives on Climate Change (AYICC)
- Espacio Iberoamericano de la Juventud (EIJ)
- International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements (FIMCAP)
- Global Youth Connect (GYC)
- Global Young Greens (GYG)
- International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International (IFM-SEI)
- International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY)
- International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY)
- International Young Catholic Students (IYCS)
- International Movement of Catholic Rural and Agricultural Youth (MIJARC)
- Middle East Youth Parliament
- IMCS – International Movement of Catholic Students (Pax Romana)
- Tutmonda Esperantista Junulara Organizo / World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO)
- Troy Youth Club
- World Alliance of YMCAs
- World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)
- World Organization of Scout Movement (WOSM)
- World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
Regional Youth Platforms:
- Asian-Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA)
- European Youth Forum (YFJ)
- Foro Latinoamericano de Juventud/Latin American Youth Forum (FLAJ)
- Pan African Youth Union (PYU)
National Youth Councils:
- Youth Council of Slovakia
- National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka (NYSC)
- Sveriges ungdomsorganisationer / National Council of Swedish Youth Organizations (LSU)
- Swiss National Youth Council (SAJV / CSAJ)
- Vlaamse Jeugdraad (VJR)
UN Youth Delegates:
- Benson Saulo – UN Youth Delegate of Australia
- Rovshan Muradov – UN Youth Delegate of Azerbaijan
- Rza Aliyev – UN Youth Delegate of Azerbaijan
- Shahin Khalilov and Araz Gasimov – former UN Youth Delegate of Azerbaijan
- Oeljana Radelicki- UN Youth Delegate of Belgium
- Joren Selleslaghs – former UN Youth Delegate of Belgium
- Cecilia Pellosniemi – UN Youth Delegate of Finland
- Alina Böling – former UN Youth Delegate of Finland
- Luis David Sena – UN Youth Delegate of the Dominican Republic
- Sabrina Reindl – UN Youth Delegate of Germany
- Patrick Rohde – UN Youth Delegate of Germany
- Norbert Monti – UN Youth Delegate of Hungary
- Dirk Janssen – UN Youth Delegate of the Netherlands
- Kirty Matabadal – UN Youth Delegate of the Netherlands
- Tomás Leite – former UN Youth Delegate of Portugal
- Pu-Reum Lara YIM – UN Youth Delegate of the Republic of Korea
- Alexandra Natase – UN Youth Delegates of Romania
- Bogdan Baciu – UN Youth Delegate of Romania
- Karine Rusaro Utamuliza – UN Youth Delegate of Rwanda
- Aloys NTEZIMANA – UN Youth Delegate of Rwanda
- Monika Marekova – UN Youth Delegate of Slovakia
- Malin Johansson – UN Youth Delegate of Sweden
- Mattia Zanazz – UN Youth Delegate of Switzerland
- Lucie Rosset – UN Youth Delegate of Switzerland
- Marigona Isufi – UN Youth Delegate of Switzerland
- Oliver Felix – former UN Youth Delegate of Switzerland
- Orhan Esad Akgün – former UN Youth Delegate of Turkey
- Ahmed Al Shamsi – UN Youth Delegate of the United Arab Emirates
- Action Against Hunger
- Agency for community development initiatives Sierra Leone (ACODI/SL)
- Christian Hands on Widows and Children in Need (CHOWCHIN)
- Programa de Jovenes – Municipalidad Distrital de San Isidro
- Programa para Estudiantes y Jovenes – Centro para el Emprendimiento y Estudios Sociales
- Youth & Student Branch of the United Nations Association of Flanders Belgium (VVN Youth)